Saturday, September 18, 2010

Automatically Launching Cygwin's X Server

We have a new Dell Inspiron 13R laptop. One of the first things I do on any Windows machine I get is install Cygwin on it. One of the main reasons for this is to be able to run an X Server.

I wanted the X Server to start automatically at login, so I copied the shortcut named "XWin Server" that was installed to the Start->Programs->Cygwin-X menu and pasted it into the Start->Programs->Startup menu. This shortcut launches Cygwin's startxwin, which, in turn, launches the XWin server itself.

This works nicely, except for one annoyance: startxwin, by default, launches an X terminal. This makes sense if you manually click the "XWin Server" shortcut, but not (in my opinion) when it's launched automatically. I wanted it to start silently.

I followed a few false trails before I bothered to Read The Fine Man-page. The solution is pretty simple: create an empty .startxwinrc in my home directory:
$ touch ~/.startxwinrc

Friday, September 3, 2010


A few weeks ago, following an overdose of bad luck, we bought a new laptop for my wife - a Dell Inspiron 13R (marketed locally as N3010).

Along with the new machine we bought an EDIMAX BR-6424n V2 wireless router, in order to network all of our three laptops.

About the same time, we finally replaced both of our failing cellular phones with a new pair of Nokia 2730phones.

And two weeks later my wife started a new part time job, where they issued her an ASUS Eee PC 1015P Netbook- when it rains it pours.

My plan is to setup the new box for my wife, take over her old laptop, and convert it to Debian (I'll probably replace its 80GB hard disk drive with a larger one).

So, I'm up to my neck with system administration chores. I intend to post some updates as soon as the dust settles down.